November 30, 2020
By KOMA Parent and Student, Tom Irwin
So after spending most of the late spring and summer working with my kids as they went through their belts (something good to come out of COVID-19), both Master Ko and Dr. Joslin mentioned to me that there was an adult program that I could do at KOMA. I was entering my fourth year of medical school, and I knew that my schedule would slow down in October.
So why do it now? For some perspective, I'm in my mid-40s, and coming off of spending several months hunched over an operating table as I start trying to land a resident physician position (that's the immediate step after medical school). So I'm starting a new career, and I'm entering a phase of it where decisions about my future (and thus my family) are not under my control.
My kids get to give me a hard time about being a higher belt.
There are a bunch of reasons, but first and foremost, it's FUN. I had a great time working with my kids this summer, and it's one more thing we can do together. My kids get to give me a hard time about being a higher belt than me, and we get to clown around more at home.
Secondly, it's pretty difficult to stay in shape as we get older, and even though I lost weight while on surgery (students and residents don't get a chance to eat much, and forget about snacking), I wasn't able to exercise very much. I was certainly interested in doing away with my "dad bod", and see if I could avoid the usual holiday weight gain.
Finally- and importantly- there's a mental component to it that can't be overlooked. I have to both impress residency programs *and* hope that the computer that scores the residency rankings (how I rank programs and how they rank me) put me and my family in a good place. I won't have an answer on that until March. I'm also less busy for a few months than I have been, and there's very little that's as detrimental to one's state of mind as boredom is. The ability to focus solely on physical activity calms my mind, and dissipates the nervous energy that builds up on a daily basis while I wait to hear from programs for interviews.
The ability to focus solely on physical activity calms my mind.
Being in class with other working professionals and absolutely DELIGHTFUL instructors has done wonders for my state of mind, and it'll do the same for you, to say nothing of how you'll look and feel in a surprisingly short period of time. Come check it out!
About the author: Tom Irwin is a fourth-year medical student in KU's MD/MBA program. A professional opera singer for 20 years prior to medical school, he and his children attend class at KOMA several times per week. His kids are brown belts, and they remind him on a regular basis that he's a ways behind them (he's a yellow belt).